iPhone SE 2020: Good for most, bad for the competition

Apple’s new small phone is out, the iPhone SE 2nd generation of iPhone SE 2020, featuring the latest Apple chipset in an iPhone 8 body, and a size up from the previous generation:

  • The big news is that this iPhone SE packs a beastly chipset: the A13 Bionic, which is in the flagship iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro line right now.
  • The iPhone SE has all the iPhone 8’s features: the comparatively small 4.7-inch display, tucked into Apple’s old hardware design including Touch ID instead of Face ID, big bezels, no headphone jack, and just 64GB of storage, in black, white, or red. It does offer wireless charging, Apply Pay via NFC, and has water/dust resistance, with IP67 rating.
  • The iPhone SE retails for 1699 AED, with pre-orders starting April 17 at 4pm UAE time.
  • The A13 chipset means that it’s not quite like a refurbished iPhone 8. It means long-term Apple support, warranty, and all Apple’s brand promises.
  • And Apple, probably fairly, claims it is the fastest processor on the market.
  • All in all, this is Apple’s best deal for a competent device. Apple has stopped sales on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus too.

Thoughts:

  • Timing: Apple couldn’t time this launch better. Affordability is everything at the moment, and boom, here’s Apple’s most affordable, and probably easily recommendable device. (Once we see the reviews.)
  • Size: A 4.7-inch screen seems tiny, but Apple says 500 million people own an iPhone with a 4.7-inch screen already, so there. Those who wanted a 4-inch screen like the original iPhone SE might be disappointed but I mean, those days are over.
  • Big: It’s still an ancient design for the tech world. The 4.7-inch screen itself might be fine but it’s held within a giant oversized body.
  • What matters: It’s not a revolutionary design or innovation packed device. But, most likely, none of that matters for those people who just want a good, reliable, capable phone with a decent camera. Many of those people, especially in the US, just want an iPhone because that’s all they know, they want iMessage, all their apps are there, and so on.
  • Battery life? I’m intrigued by the iPhone SE’s battery life. According to official filings, the new SE seems to have the same battery size as the iPhone 8, at 1821mAh. That’s a low number, and quite a bit less than the iPhone 11 at 3,046mAh. The much smaller screen will help squeeze more life out of every mAh, but I’d be surprised if battery life was similar.
  • Tough on the refurbished market: If you’re a phone reseller or refurbisher, life just got tough. This beats most of what was in stock in the second-hand iPhone market.
  • Margin? Apple’s margin on its iPhones is usually as high as 60%, or more. It would be a surprise if that didn’t continue.

More money, more problems:

  • It’s incredible that Apple releases a flagship killer one day after OnePlus debuts its OnePlus 8 series at its highest ever price: 2750 AED for the OnePlus 8, 3450 AED for its better OnePlus 8 Pro.
  • How can that be? The smartphone market has to be one of the most exciting in the world right now.
  • But we did see one brand, in particular, get this cheaper phone story right last year: that was the Google Pixel 3a for 1600 AED, which despite not being a flagship was one of the best (and most recommended smartphones) of 2019. 
  • The 1600 AED Google Pixel 3a and bigger Pixel 3a XL, for 2300 AED, didn’t win many battles on its specs alone, with mid-range features. But it delivered a great Google-optimized experience for buyers: phenomenal Pixel camera, best-in-class user experience, great battery life, and speedy software updates to keep it going.
  • The Google Pixel 4a, which could be out within 1.5-to-2 months in a normal year, will be hotly anticipated.

Overall – stay tuned:

  • The iPhone SE 2020 hasn’t seen any reviews yet to tell truly us if, and how, it’s better than the iPhone 8 (which dropped today to 1350 AED).
  • I ordered one today, so wait for the review to come soon, and maybe in video?
  • You’d expect an improved camera courtesy of the A13 chip, but battery life may only be average given the iPhone 8 wasn’t great for the time either.

Published by Moey

Inked. Pierced. Chubby. Bearded. Cinephile. Left-arm Palsy-fist.

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